Thank you, Sicko

I would like to take a moment to give credit where credit is due; to “Sicko,” Michael Moore’s movie that brought the health care crisis in America to the forefront of American thought.

He got this ball rolling. And tonight, for the first time in 100 years, We, the People, have carved out one small victory against the Health Insurance Industry.

A New Threat

A poster on TP identified himself as “Johnny Daring, Oath Keeper.”

So, who are Oath Keepers, anyway?

Oath Keepers is a non-partisan association of currently serving military, veterans, peace officers, and firefighters who will fulfill the oath we swore to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, so help us God.

Our oath is to the Constitution, not to the politicians, and we will not obey unconstitutional (and thus illegal) and immoral orders, such as orders to disarm the American people or to place them under martial law and deprive them of their ancient right to jury trial.

We Oath Keepers have drawn a line in the sand. We will not “just follow orders.”

Our motto is “Not on our watch!”

Note, please that this “non-partisan” group of currently serving military did not rise up against Bush’s illegal invasion of two countries. No “Oath Keeper” has refused to follow any order related to those wars.

Perhaps this is why:

Stewart is the founder and Director of Oath Keepers. He served as a U.S. Army paratrooper until disabled in a rough terrain parachuting accident during a night jump.

He is a former firearms instructor and former member of Rep. Ron Paul’s DC staff.

What does this mean? If Teabaggers riot, “Oath Keepers,” currently serving military and police, will refuse to follow a lawful order instituting martial law.

Scott Brown uses Republican Talking Points to Justify Acts of Violence Against the Government

HT:TP

In an interview on Fox News, Republican’s 41st vote in the Senate had this reaction to yesterday’s attack on the IRS:

BROWN: Well It’ s certainly tragic and I feel for the families obviously that are being effected by it. And I don’t know if its related but I can just sense not only in my election but since being here in Washington people are frustrated. They want transparency. They want their elected officials to be accountable and open and talk about the things effecting their daily lives. So I am not sure if there is a connection, I certainly hope not, but we need to do things better.

CAVUTO: Invariably people are going to look at this type of incident Senator and say ‘well that’s were some of this populist rage gets you’ – Isn’t that a bit extreme?

BROWN: Yeah of course its extreme, you don’t know anything the individual he could have had other issues. No one likes paying taxes obviously. But the way we are trying to deal with things in the past, at least until I got here, is there is such a log jam in Washington and people want us to do better…

After just one sentance tossed out to demonstrate “sympathy” to the victims, Brown immediately went to the talking points: people are frustrated with Washington; they want trasparency; they want their elected officials to be accountable; no one likes paying taxes.

By running through this litany of talking points in reaction to a murderous attack on a governmental agency, Scott Brown lends credence to those who are inclined to use violence against the government. Any one of Brown’s points can be used to justify murder now.

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In the Beginning – a Christmas Message

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

….and the darkness did not overcome the light…. 2009 has been a year in which the darkness swept the land, yet it did not overcome the light. There are those moved to be the light, and we shall, by our nature, continue to do so in the years ahead.

Your thoughts and reflections are welcome.

Peace and Blessings,

Briseadh na Faire

One Small Step for Congress, One Giant Leap Towards Universal Healthcare

At least since the days of the first progressive president, Teddy Roosevelt (a Republican, no less) Universal Healthcare has been debated in our nation’s capital. Debated, but not passed. The health care industry has successfully blocked measure after measure aimed at reform, with the last notable attempt in the early 1990s. Until today. Today, Christmas Eve, 2009, the Senate voted 60-39 in favor of some reforms to the health care system. Is there universal health care in the bill? No. Not yet. A public option? No. Not that, either, although it is included in the House version. But the bill does prevent the health insurance industry from denying benefits or charging higher premiums because of preexisting conditions. And it contains complex provisions which are designed to allow some 30 million working poor the ability to have health insurance.

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Olbermann Special Comment: Get out of Afghanistan now

Raw Story:

In a Special Comment, Countdown’s Keith Olbermann argues that in the face political and financial opportunism, not to mention outright lies about the war in Afghanistan, and the stark historical warning represented by Vietnam, President Obama should make the change he promised during his campaign and pull U.S. troops out of Afghanistan.

Here’s the segment on The Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC) discussing the impact of this ‘escalation’ in Afghanistan on our military readiness:

Open Thread – Thanksgiving

A year ago, most of the country, and the free world, was elated over the election of Barak Obama.

We’ve now had a year-long reality check. Republicans are not interested in cooperating with anyone but one of their own. Obama really ran as a moderate – but compared to McCain/Palin, he appeared very left-wing.

The fact of the matter is, there are not enough progressives in Congress to move forward with an agenda that puts people over profits. I believe Obama is doing the best he can with the hand that was dealt him, on all fronts.
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The New Enlightenment

Since the dawn of the agricultural age, if not well before then, man has formed into heirarchical societies.

In a heirarchical society, wealth is distributed in an inverse pyramid. Those few at the top control the greatest proportion of wealth, and use that wealth and power to control those below.

This appears to be an innate condition. No non-heirarchical societies have survived.

It also appears to be innate within mankind to self-associate with those of similar characteristics. This innate grouping allows for group-think, and banding together against those not of the group.

All major religions/philosophies have common beliefs; chief amongst is the altruistic tenant about caring for one’s fellow human, regardless of station, gender, or race. Thus the basic tenants of the major religions run counter to the innate heirarchical-grouping tendencies of mankind.

How, then, is this reconciled? We are seeing things moving to the extremes of divisiveness. Zealots can never be appeased. Give them what they want on gay marriage, abortion, health care, torture, whatever, it will never be enough. There will always be some new afront to their righteousness.

Redistribute wealth? A new hierarchy emerges. The French Revolution was the prime example. While some level of socialism alleviates the suffering of the masses at the expense of the top of the hierarchy, it does not change the innate greediness within mankind.

Christ said, ‘sell all you have, give it to the poor, and follow me.’ Thoreau got more out of life by wanting less. Buddah discovered all unhappiness is born of desire – eliminate desire and you eliminate unhappiness.

The solution, then, lies within the individual. Evolve. Be in the world, but not of the world. Care about your fellow people, but realize that true change in the status of mankind is the change that happens within you – when you step out of living in a hierarchy and live – for your self – and for the ones you love —  When “things” (possessions) no longer matter…

In my travels I have learned one truth — the Universe resonates most harmoniously with the feeling of love.

Onward, Christian Soldiers

There are those who fear our government is indoctrinating our school children to worship President Obama. They quickly point to the evils of indoctrination under Hitler, Stalin, and Kim Jong Il. Fear the Madrassa; love the Jesus Camp:

Perhaps this is the way all American school children should be taught regarding how to feel towards the President of the United States:

Secessionists v. the Military Commissions Act of 2006

Under Bush’s Military Commissions Act of 2006, anyone determined to be an “unlawful alien enemy combatant” may be picked up and held without charges until the end of the “war on terror” i.e. for the rest of their life., without getting a phone call, without access to an attorney, or outside contact of any kind.

Under the Military Commissions Act, a person who has supported hostilities against the United States is an enemy combatant. The terms are broad enough to encompass people who speak at secession rallies.

They become an “unlawful enemy combatant” if they don’t wear a recognizable insignia identifying them as belonging to an army or militia. i.e. if they are not wearing a uniform, like those photographed carrying pistols and assault rifles to Obama’s meetings this past August.

The only step left, to become an “unlawful alien enemy combatant” is to declare secession. Once that is done, U.S. citizenship is renounced.

IN SUMMARY: the minute Secessionists declare independence from the United States, they become “unlawful alien enemy combatants” and may be captured, detained indefinitely, and questioned, possibly with the “legal” techniques they support as being highly effective in rooting out valuable intelligence information leading to the arrest of their co-conspirators.

Rumor has it Bush built detention centers across the country designed to hold thousands of such folks.

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Special Comment: Sarah Palin rhetoric putting nation at risk

Raw Replay:

In a Special Comment, Countdown’s Keith Olbermann decries former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s “death panel” invention in her criticism of President Barack Obama’s health care agenda, pointing out that by peddling frightening lies to her mob of ill-informed followers she puts the safety and security of the nation at risk.

Why do we pay so much attention to Sarah Palin?

By Guest Poster misscoleopteramolly

Why do we pay so much attention to Sarah Palin? I’m guessing it’s the same reason Florence Foster Jenkins was so popular in her time.

For those of you unfamiliar with FFJ (and I only know of her historically, since she died before I was born), she was a woman who had always wanted to sing, and once she had inherited a sum of money that allowed her to pursue her dream, she went for it. God love her, she was so talentless that listening to cats fighting in an alley was probably a better musical experience than listening to her. But she never allowed anything to discourage her, and categorized herself with the other (genuine) great sopranos of her day.

Her popularity was due to people finding the way Mrs. Jenkins murdered the classics to be highly entertaining. Tickets to her recitals were highly sought after, and her single Carnegie Hall performance in 1944 was sold out weeks in advance. Her performances were delivered in serious earnest, and she seemed quite oblivious to the fact that she provided her audience with comic instead of musical entertainment.

And here we have Sarah Palin. A woman so completely unfit for national office that it’s laughable. This laughter keeps her in the public eye, of course, but her popularity appears to have given her the idea that she’s statesmanlike, politically intelligent, and a leader of her party.

She really doesn’t have a clue that her party regards her only as a token woman when they needed one, an attention-getter who could draw a crowd, someone who looks good on the teevee, and a sock puppet for the PNAC and other party power.

And the rest of us regard her as an endless source of entertainment — a guilty pleasure. Because a Sarah Palin interview (or speech, or column) makes as many people laugh today as an aria sung by Florence Foster Jenkins did over 65 years ago.

Articles about Florence Foster Jenkins

Endangered Species – Sunday Open Thread

Tasmanian Devil

Tasmanian Devil

Australia recently added this cuddly creature to its endangered species list.

To learn more about this endearing creature, look here.

For more victims of human exploitation, look here.

Seriously, we are losing biodiversity at a fanatic rate. When I return to places where I experienced my childhood, I see that entire ecosystems have vanished, The stream behind my childhood house is gone along with the newts and turtles that occupied it. I once crabbed and oyster-ed along the Chesapeake shore. Now, the soft-shells have left the scene and the oysters are all but gone. The time lapse is but 60 years and I wonder what the next 60 years will hold.

Independence, Mo.: Lawsuit Accuses Police of Negligence

The City of Independence, its police department, and a major ambulance provider in the metro face a lawsuit. They’re accused of allowing a teenager, hit by a suspect fleeing police, to bleed to death.

Maybe most disturbing is the comment an officer made on tape.  “They’re like roaches, man,” said the unidentified Independence police officer. “They don’t die.”

That comment is at the heart of a new lawsuit filed Monday.

Last November, during a police chase, Wilfredo Pujols ran over Christopher Cooper, 17, who was crossing Noland Road on a bicycle. Pujuols pled guilty for his role in criminal court. But Cooper’s family believes “a cowboy atmosphere” within the police department makes them just as liable.

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Olbermann: ‘Mr. President, you are wrong’

A “Special Comment” from Countdown with Keith Olbermann, April 16, 2009:

From Countdown:

As promised, a Special Comment now on the president’s revelation of the remainder of this nightmare of Bush Administration torture memos. This President has gone where few before him, dared. The dirty laundry — illegal, un-American, self-defeating, self-destroying — is out for all to see.

Mr. Obama deserves our praise and our thanks for that. And yet he has gone but half-way. And, in this case, in far too many respects, half the distance is worse than standing still. Today, Mr. President, in acknowledging these science-fiction-like documents, you said that:

“This is a time for reflection, not retribution. I respect the strong views and emotions that these issues evoke.”

“We have been through a dark and painful chapter in our history.

“But at a time of great challenges and disturbing disunity, nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past.”

Mr. President, you are wrong. What you describe would be not “spent energy” but catharsis.
Not “blame laid,” but responsibility ascribed. You continued:

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TEA PARTY PROTEST?

For those of you who wish to protest the “tea party” protests, I recommend starting off with a classic Tea Party:

 

Afterwards, you can wind down by going to any of these sites:

http://www.republicoftea.com/

upton tea

http://www.adagio.com/

and/or

http://www.stashtea.com/

And while you’re enjoying your cup of tea, think about this. At the DC “protest” they wanted to dump 1,000,000 teabags. That’s about $50,000 worth of tea, or more than the median income for a family of four, to protest wasteful spending.

Abe Lincoln was right: you can fool some of the people all of the time.

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Gas to hit new highs – affect global economy

No, that’s not today’s headlines. But look back:

Gasoline prices going up, up, up
Experts predict $3 per gallon soon — grim outlook through 2006

David R. Baker, Chronicle Staff Writer
Friday, April 8, 2005

“This run-up, however, hasn’t produced a recession, at least not yet.

SOARING OIL PRICES COULD TRIGGER WORLD RECESSION, WARNS JAPAN ENERGY CHIEF – STRONG MESSAGE FROM GROUP OF EIGHT NEEDED IN JULY
8 June 2008

Japan’s energy chief launched a meeting of ministers from the world’s top industrialized nations Sunday by warning that soaring oil prices could trigger a global recession if they’re not checked. …
“If left unaddressed, it may well cause a recession in the global economy.”

Surging oil prices could trigger a global recession
Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Broadcast: 09/06/2008
Reporter: Phillip Lasker

There are now growing concerns that rising oil prices will drive the global economy into recession.

IEA warns high oil prices could trigger global recession
22 Sep 2008

The world economy faces a recession if the price of oil stays above $90 a barrel, the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned. The price of oil crept up again today, reaching $95, following two days of declines caused by the collapse of investment bank Lehman Brothers and slumping stock markets. Fears of a deep recession had pushed the price below $100 a barrel for the first time in six months.

Finally, an incredibly prescient report from 3 years ago:
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Olbermann: What if Obama had campaigned like McCain?

Raw Story

In a Special Campaign Comment, Keith Olbermann invites viewers to imagine how Barack Obama would be fairing in the election if Obama made the mistakes, contradictions, gaffes, Freudian slips, and hypocritical pronouncements that John McCain make throughout the campaign.


Palin v. Books – why it matters

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First, to clear up the record; there is a list of books Palin supposedly tried to get banned. That list is false.

See: http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=5766173&page=1

And also: http://www.groupnewsblog.net/2008/09/more-on-sarah-censorship-and-librarian.html

So, if Palin didn’t actually try to ban books, why should it matter? Think of the power of the Federal Government to snoop into your private affairs without your knowledge, thanks to the Patriot Act. Palin may not try to ban specific books, but she would be able to find out who’s reading whatever is on her “forbidden” list. It is all too easy now for the Federal Government to declare someone a “terrorist.” Just review the criminal charges filed against individuals engaged in the RNC protests, if you wish.

Once on the “terrorist watch list” your life can become a living hell.

As vindictive as Palin has been to her ex brother-in-law, how do you think she’ll treat people who read disapproved books? Will she use the Department of Justice to root out such undesirables, thus purifying our country according to her deeply held religious beliefs?

Bottom line: it doesn’t take a crystal ball to see that Palin, following in the footsteps of Cheney, will use the Office of Vice-President to forward her vision of a Theocratic State. What you read can, and will, be held against you.